To recognize a nexus of cyclical energy in Posit, involving the poetic “I”— inhering, an association of asserted subjectivity with heterosexual sexual arousal and the phallic— specifically, the phallus in the act of sexual intercourse— I begin with “Come to the Point.” The poem “Come to the Point,” with its blatant/rhetorically dual-minded, subtle essence (to come to the point in an argumentative, discursive, or dialectical context, and to come as in to ejaculate), has a parallel structure inhering in the first and last line— “I am that I.” The line-breaks (“I am/come to the point”) emphasize the curious juxtaposition of discursive and phallic potency— that critical cruxes can (literally or figuratively) be seminal. Here, in this self-critical meta-crux, manifesting in the unlikely context of a work of verbal art, the positing has to do with a critical line (or self-perpetuated discourse/dialectic) in favor of the reemergence of first-person singular perspectives in order to inaugurate a new era of textual freedom and “I” propelled experimentation for poets and dialecticians. The first person singular, expressed in poetic language, is also revealed to encompass phallic energy— just as Posit courts the acknowledgment and embrace of certain forms/manners of phallocentrism. To Posit something, in this compressed matrix of interests, is to enact a textual pelvic thrust. The “slipping down” in “Come to the Point” is meant to convey both seduction/sensuality (the slipping down, perhaps, of underclothes), and a sense of ease and freedom in the slide back into first person perspectives in text.
I am that I
that stations metaphor
on a boat to
be carried across.
that makes little
songs on banisters,
which are slipped down.
that slips down
china cutlery and white.
I am coming to
the point. I am
come to the point.
I am that I.
“I” must climb up
from a whirlpool
but sans belief
“I” must say I
how or why
this can happen
“I” must believe
in my own
“I” must come back,
‘til this emptiness
is known, and shown.
I married into blood and
broken necks, endless
anemic privation, but
no regret. You see,
hunger fills me. I like
vampire hours (no
sleep), a blood-vessel
maidens about to
We know what sweetness
is in starvation. We’ve
is death’s approval stamp.
If you crave, there is
room left in you. If
you want, you are a
being finished is
a cadaver’s province.
Better to suck
The manner in which Posit slips down into “Dracula’s Bride” to conclude— what we see about the first person perspective being argued for or “crux’ed” in “Bill Allegrezza,” that the poetic “I” perpetually manifests a kind of emptiness, which needs to be known, and shown, leads to the revelation of a persona (Dracula’s Bride), whose relationship to the phallic first person is both vulpine (infantile, even) and subservient; to, as the poem ends, “suck/whatever comes.” The rhetorical heft of Dracula’s Bride and her perspective has to do with “sweetness in starvation,” against satiety, consonant with the worship of the first-person phallus (which needn’t be brandished only by males, this is all metaphor), which delivers both sweetness and emptiness in its mechanistic performance. The emptiness of the first person singular contradicts or baffles its own power to inseminate— but that contradiction, when applied to poetic language (emptiness/fullness, infertility/insemination), is the bizarre synthesis which is the telos of Posit as a textual dialectic. The positing, or discursive thrust, is into both empty textual space and whatever proverbial Dracula’s Bride can receive the full/empty seeds the right way— and Posit both empties and deconstructs itself in the same motion or positing.
I am continuing develop connective tissue, in a critical context/framework, between Keats’ Odes and the Cheltenham Elegies. Taking “Nightingale” and 261 (“Never one to cut corners…”), and a shared visionary sequence between the two poems— Keats in his poem, through the process of composition (Poesy, and its “viewless” wings), is able to extend the reach of his vision into the dark woods to co-mingle/commiserate with his synecdoche; just as the protagonist of 261, on the viewless wings of Poesy again, is able to “pull a rough U-turn” (“Here’s where the fun starts…”) on Old York Road at midnight, and thus join the ambiguous hero/anti-hero of the poem. This, doubled between the two poems, enacts a transmigration process which is an outlet and a subtext of the visionary, and temporally freezes the sense that what the nightingale/ “rogue driver” of 261 signify— night, death, physical mortality, but also an inverse (perverse) owning of dark freedom and power— is matched by a negatively capable textual engagement.
Never one to cut corners about cutting corners, you spun the Subaru into a rough U-turn right in the middle of Old York Road at midnight, scaring the shit out of this self- declared “artist.” The issue, as ever, was nothing particular to celebrate. We could only connect nothing with nothing in our private suburban waste land. Here’s where the fun starts— I got out, motherfucker. I made it. I say “I,” and it works. But Old York Road at midnight is still what it is. I still have to live there the same way you do.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays; But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves; And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Here is an interesting discrepancy: the “I” in 261 (important, also, to note that the rogue driver’s U-turn being made in the poem may be turning back to Cheltenham) manages to turn the proverbial tables on his companion (rhetorically/textually) twice (“But Old York Road at midnight…”), thus re-living the U-turn twice, rather than Keats’ singular journey into the dark woods. Keats does not begin to develop any kind of bravado against his Muse; conversely, the two textual U-turns in 261 demonstrate first, an ostensible escape from Cheltenham (which amounts to an assertion of personal or individual, artistic success), and then a renascence to a position that what Cheltenham and Old York Road signify are omnipresent in the human continuum; and both express bravado in both individualism and intellectual mastery. So does Keats enter the sensuous, shadowy paradise of the woods and then sink downwards, first into being grounded, then (as an extension) into Lethe-consonant (forgetful) despondency; and these are two textual journeys of visionary identification and self-transcendence. The possible inversion, in which Keats’ Ode, through its ultimate sense of lost, demeaned, defeated yet sensually self-aware consciousness, against textual flights or “Fancies,” constitutes a kind of elegy, while the Cheltenham Elegy, through its ultimate air of sangfroid and mastery (empowerment over harsh circumstances) demonstrates, if not exactly odal joy, certainly a sense of a kind of textual tour de force being enacted in a compressed space, an ambiance of the explosive, which is not in Keats. The nightingale and 261’s rogue driver (Chris) are both phantoms, essentially: rhetorically addressed, evanescent. The negatively capable identification process occurs once in the present (Keats, appropriate for an ode) and once in a visioned/visionary past (261, appropriate for an elegy)— and it is merely textual, unperceived, unappreciated by one inhuman Other (the nightingale) and one human Other (Chris). The ultimate destination, why the identification process is enacted, is for the imagined, individual reader-as-third party.
Built into Apparition Poems as a literary construct, and as a textual embodiment of what I call a “noir” or “deep noir” sensibility, under the aegis of the Neo-Romantic, are resonances from poem to poem, and from poem-sequence to poem-sequence. You could call these resonances textual “games” of a sort, and when two or more poems “game” with or against each other, the resonances between motifs, linguistic structures, and approaches to textual development highlight, in microcosmic form, what constitutes the text as an epic in fragments. Here, I would like to investigate the game between two Apparition Poems— 1341 and 1488— and thus demonstrate how a representative Apparition Poem game works. The motifs I see intermixed in this game— drunkenness/intoxication, possible alcoholism, Philadelphia as a site for both interpersonal drama and textual creation, heterosexual (here) games between men and women, over both sexual and psycho-affective issues, and an unnamed epic protagonist’s relationship with language itself, and with his own cognitive capacities— recur throughout this nouveau epic text, and as it weaves its wayward course, this particular nexus serves to underline the labyrinthine depths (and heights) towards which the text attempts to ascend:
Secrets whispered behind us have a cheapness to bind us to liquors, but may blind us to possibilities of what deep secrets are lost in pursuit of an ultimate drunkenness that reflects off surfaces like dead fishes at the bottom of filthy rivers— what goes up most is just the imperviousness gained by walking down streets, tipsy, which I did as I said this to her, over the Schuylkill, two fishes.
liquor store, linoleum floor, wine she chose was always deep red, dark, bitter aftertaste, unlike her bare torso, which has in it all that ever was of drunkenness— to miss someone terribly, to both still be in love, as she severs things because she thinks she must— exquisite torture, it’s a different bare torso, (my own) that’s incarnadine—
The motif of drinking/drunkenness has to occur throughout Apparition Poems— the characters who inhabit the text tend to be excessive rather than moderate, and indulgent rather than abstemious. Why 1341 and 1488 both make incisions into the nature of drunkenness— “ultimate drunkenness” and “all that ever was of drunkenness”— is that drunkenness is seen not to be simple but complex, a multi-tiered state of consciousness which might move consciousness itself (and the relationship of consciousness to language) in any number of different directions. Yet, the dark-hewn nature of Apparition Poems, its stance in shade rather than light, draws us to the abyss that whatever the “all” of drunkenness is, it must be redeemed in our re-exploration of states of drunkenness in text, not necessarily as a state of consciousness in itself. The obvious facets of the drunkenness game here— that social contexts and sexualized relationships can drive us to drink in 1341, and that some humans choose to dwell permanently in drunken states of psycho-affective torpor in 1488— are undergirded by a meta-consonant sense that engagement in certain forms and levels of textuality have “all that ever was of drunkenness” built into them, and that the seemingly sober composer of the two poems has inhering a drunken sense of the possibilities of dual meanings and other games as redemptive of/for the self-respect of cognition, and its possible enchantments, of which drunkenness is one. “Drunkenness” is also a specialized version of Philadelphia; as a city of romance and intrigue, intoxication, passion. Aughts Philadelphia was, in the broad sense of the word, romantic— freedoms to indulge were enjoyed there.
The sense of heterosexual, sexualized relationships between men and women— one of the backbones of serious art for the length of human history— had been edited out of serious avant-garde poetry a long time before Apparition Poems, for no good reason and against the natural proclivities of most would-be poets. I have no problems with queerness or queer art whatsoever— many of my Aughts Philadelphia compadres were queer— but I felt that, for myself and for the greater good of the art-form, a re-introduction of passionate, sexualized (“experienced”) hetero interest would be both healthy and germane to this text’s sense of itself (sentience) as an epic. Sexualized, hetero relationships with drunken, semi-alcoholic Philly as a background, sequestered in the racy Aughts, up the tactile ante against the merely cognitive, or even merely cognitive-affective, gaining an upper hand; and these two Apparition Poems together seem to be about the same relationship. That the relationship is tempestuous, encounter based, and also hinged to a secret-whispering social nexus, add a broad range of coloration and perspective tricks which make the poems work in an engine like way together, towards the conclusion of 1488 in heartbreak and a sense of entropic loss.
The loss, it should be noted, is epic, even if rooted in a series of fragments— pitched to a high frequency both of intellect (level after level of semantic scaffolding from line to line) and of emotion. The sense of gravitas-in-passion, mixed in with sex, booze, and Aughts Philly energy, is uniquely situated so that some audiences will miss the intricate sense of the poems as word-machines, systematically checking and balancing themselves for achieving the unique, simultaneous prosodic effect of maximum coherence/maximum complexity.
As to how I have designated possible discussions/discourses about my Apparition Poems; applying the moniker noir to them, in order the explicate the aesthetic terrain they inhabit; I would like to designate a possible chiasmus between “noir,” as defined in textual practice by me, and the theoretical underpinnings of English Romanticism. What noir and Romanticism share is substantial— a sense of mysticism or enchantment in cognition itself, or cognitive processes; also, the engagement-in-cognition between textuality and the human mind, and the mind’s enchantment with levels of textual transparency and opacity, back and forth; and a generalized sense of the necessity of dealing directly, to a greater or lesser extent, with philosophy and philosophical issues in texts maintaining artistic/aesthetic consonance. In order to develop this discourse, I would like to look at “The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth in a dialectical fusion with Apparition Poem #1070. The issues of phallocentrism-in-text, imposition on the feminine, “theft” of the feminine, rusticity, chastity, and sincerity starkly given antithesis by urbanity, sensuality, and artifice, fused into meditations on textual innocence and experience, virginity and consummation, and ultimate female empowerment in noir over Romanticism, are the ones which will lead us, hopefully, to an initiated dialectic.
Behold her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland Lass! Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass! Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain; O listen! for the Vale profound Is overflowing with the sound. No Nightingale did ever chaunt More welcome notes to weary bands Of travellers in some shady haunt, Among Arabian sands: A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird, Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides. Will no one tell me what she sings?— Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow For old, unhappy, far-off things, And battles long ago: Or is it some more humble lay, Familiar matter of to-day? Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, That has been, and may be again? Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang As if her song could have no ending; I saw her singing at her work, And o'er the sickle bending;— I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more. I said, “I can’t even remember the last time I was excited, how can I associate ideas?” She pulled out a gun, a tube of oil, and an air cushion, and it was a spontaneous overflow, powerfully felt, in which we reaped together—
To clarify: “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” is a famous phrase from Wordsworth’s Preface. If the two poems together initiate a sort of wrestling match or scuffle, it is because inversions in the two texts lead to a kind of textual impasse. When Wordsworth (or his protagonist/”I”) co-opts the song of the Solitary Reaper, the interaction is a kind of unconsummated (“chaste”) one— she does not know someone is listening, and Wordsworth seems eager to keep it that way. We are drawn in by her rusticity, the sense that (as Wordsworth would have us believe, and as he explicated in his Preface) the rustic evinces a superior purity/innocence to the urban, and the plaintive quality of her song advertises a kind of emotional grandeur or gravitas, a superior depth to her femininity.
The woman in #1080 is my antithesis. Because what is being presented to the reader would seem to encompass levels of sleaze (“gun, tube of oil, air cushion”), it is easy to miss that this protagonist is proud that he does not have to surreptitiously co-opt something (song or skin) from his heroine; the sense that she, out of her own urbanity, anticipates the need for a full consummation, or modicum of experience. Also important is that she initiates the action; whether we find it sleazy or not, she is in a more empowered position vis a vis the male than Wordsworth would ever allow himself to be. That, ultimately, is what a noir sensibility has over Romantic sincerity, which tends towards chastity: the fully realized, mature notice and transubstantiation into text of the adult, and adult levels of awareness, both of the body (in noir, an experienced body) and of levels of metaphoric awareness which Wordsworth would not have missed (that each realization of the feminine is a realization of a certain kind of text, textuality, and textual practice, bound together by processes of incision and receptivity conjoined in a single writerly consciousness, male or female). By having me raise a “plaintive” voice to my Muse, as I drolly invert another line from Wordsworth’s Preface (“as to the way the mind associates ideas in a state of excitement”), I feminize myself so that my compatriot may incise into me her experience. Thus, the sleaze levels are superficial; my text empowers a sensualized, adult woman to enjoy (“reap together”) an encounter both more tactile and more textually fulfilling than the encounters both in Lyrical Ballads and in Wordsworth’s Prelude, which features, on a general level, few interactions at all, and remains mired in Romanticism’s narcissistic obsession with the phallocentric text, and male.
Lyricism and what I call “deep noir” in Apparition Poems— the lyrical impulse here is divested of attachment to conventional (parochial, in retrospect) prosody (the term for my melopoeiac modus operandi is “clustering,” in which rhymes, near rhymes, assonances, alliterations, anaphora, and other devices occur at regularly irregular intervals). Also, the momentary or arbitrary is subsumed beneath fixed ontological concerns— “the enchantment of multiple meanings,” creating an epic effect (within the context of an “epic of fragments”) more than a lyrical one. Yet, what the Apparition Poems (including the Cheltenham Elegies) have in common with Keats’ Odal Cycle is what might be called (this works generally for major lyric poetry too) a compression or “compressionist” impulse, so that the maximum amount of textual data congeals into solidity in the most confined possible textual space. My early Aughts attempt at using the Keats odal form itself, On Love, mines similar terrain. The talent to compress is the poet’s luck over the novelist’s or the philosopher’s. The advantage of compressed texts, compressed discourse (or, as in Space Between, compressed matrixes): maximum density of signifiers creates an intense phantasmagoric effect, in and of itself— like watching a good film, or fireworks— a simulacrum, more than the prosaic, of the rigors of sexual intercourse (not just Barthesian pleasure following a “cruise” but ecstasy, and ecstasy in the pre-twentieth century dual sense, jubilance and jumping out of one’s skin). Keats’ inclusion of the arbitrary, indicative of what he chooses to celebrate (make Odal), reaches into an ontological space where only by dint of native genius can poetic sound and sense reach a satisfying apogee— thus, the Romanticism of genius narratives and mythologies around literature are true for Keats, and a genius for the arbitrary, its serendipitous manifestation, is exceedingly rare. The sui generis quality of the Odes has remained unchallenged for two centuries. I also extend the purview of my investigation of the Odal Cycle to encompass Taoism and awareness of the Tao— a self-subsistent mode of being (here made textual), arbitrary, serendipitous.
Through the investigation of lyricism, the collusion of any text (or “textuality”) with notions of serendipity, textual elements magically falling into place to form coherent gestalt wholes— any time a text or discourse is not completely planned (which is every time), elements of chance force themselves on the human mind, so that what manifests, when it is substantial, mirrors the lyrical (or lyricism), either as a subtext or as a reference point. Working with fixed concerns, and attempting the imposition of intellectual discipline, a certain safeguard against lyricism is set in place (against adolescence, Romance), but when the spirit of lyricism makes the text or discourse refulgent, the writer(s) become memorable, evince the Romanticism of human warmth, and the memorable. What makes any text memorable is not necessarily arbitrary, but its manifestation must remain arbitrary (serendipitous) until a precise science of writing is developed which can reify specific textual formulas. In this sense, Keats and lyricism signify everything we still do not know about textuality— as we divine for its essence at one point, discard it at another; and lyricism-ontology, as a final mystery, beckons from a realm as surely Other, regarding language and the mind, as any floating in our cosmos.
Lyricism’s hinge to adolescence, and the Dionysian— I have the Dionysian ranked as a Secondary Mode on the Purification Chain, for the same reason that the “fixed” must take its place as a Primary Mode over the mutable— an ethos around the aesthetic, whether inhering in the text directly or indirectly, must supersede, in its formal structure (scaffolding, image arrangements as on the Grecian Urn), what is included in momentary instances/impulses to destabilize, abrade, propel the text further towards more inductive leaps, melopoeiac crescendos; and fixed textual ethos manifests the rigors of Apollonian order/gestalt form reification. Yet, to evacuate chance/the momentary from textual creation (or maintenance, even) is to deny a Secondary Mode, which has the capacity to purify Apollonian impulses of the cumbrous formal hegemony which engenders textual dullness/reification of signifiers into stasis: Keats returns. As to the rigors of ontological inquiry versus the rigors of melopoeia on the Purification Chain— if ontology is a Primary Mode to lyricism’s Secondary, it is because serious ontological inquiry in creative or discursive texts has a manner/mode of destabilizing itself, towards its own expectation horizon of the Dionysian— where the essential Otherness of the Other manifests, jarring maintained perspectives of singularity and subjectivity. Keats’ Achilles’ heel, in the Odal Cycle— reliance on melopoeia, melopoeiac forms (technical/tactile form, in other words, against intellectual gestalt form) renders experiences of Otherness (nightingales, autumns, Grecian Urns) clipped, unduly bounded (again, interstitially complicated by prosody’s war with intellection), and the resultant crescendos are redolent (often) of mere sensibility and not, for the most part, of understanding and reason. Keats’ “high requiem” is for this blindness, for his own lyrical impulse to cast off intellectual discipline.
Keats, lyricism, and what I call Space Between- what manifests as the momentary in the Odes, lurks as a subterranean passageway along an ontological vista of consciousness not only prioritizing a certain form/manner of Otherness, and Otherness attaining importance, but of identification of/with the Other, and Otherness, with the self, so that the self is (textually and otherwise) Other (“I is another” said Rimbaud), and thus loses its essence so as to extend its notions of being past the strictures of the Apollonian. Different minds, ideologies may judge this transformation as an adolescent anomaly or not— as the abstractions added by melopoeiac considerations invite the same judgment. Employing the constraints of my definition of Space Between, the balancing edge or link of Keats’ lyricism, wherein he discovers the gestalt form of a certain textual self, stands at/with the virgin/virginal freshness of allowing the momentary a substantial modicum of unrestricted access, and the sense of the intellectual access of chance/the momentary is representative of lyricism as a generic construct in general, against the epic, the meta-poem, the elegy, and poetry (such as blank verse) meant to serve larger forms (perhaps hybrids with prose, perhaps not), larger ends. As a perceived avant-garde apotheosis of the lyric, the Odes embody a strange command of their own dynamics, and the off-centered quality of their ontological quirks kick back at the notion of their own obsolescence.
Yet, the singularity of Keats’ Odes in the canon of English language poetry is problematic— because ontology, and Space Between, can dismiss so much of Romanticism’s naïve self-schemas and conceptions, the Odes’ resilience and form/manner of shape-shifting confound even a minor dismissal. The challenge of chance, and the momentary, to a consciousness invested in ontological incisiveness, against states of half-being towards Space Between more defined, more fulsome, more grounded in intellectual command of boundaries (boundary dissolution, sometimes), is substantial and worthwhile, but mysterious and uncanny, like the raw lyricism of the Odes themselves. The Odes eternally invite us to participate in the arbitrary.
As to the lyrical impulse which infuses the Odal Cycle with life: the balance between what is picked up/grasped momentarily by Keats’ consciousness, hewn into the text, and (conversely) a fixed set of concerns which Keats (or any major lyrical poet) projects into the textual realm, consciously or unconsciously, every time he/she writes creatively, especially at crescendo moments of passionate intellection/intellectual passion, is a point of speculative interest for the critic, poet, or scholar, who wishes to grasp how and why inductive sensibility, understanding, and then reason should produce a text of vital interest over a long period of time. It is the balance between the fixed, projected outwards, and the mutable, promiscuously encountering momentary data to reify or unhinge what can remain fixed at the moment of textual initiation and consummation.
In Grecian Urn, as I have previously written, images of virginity (‘unravish’d brides”) are sought out from the fixed part of Keats’ consciousness as he looks at (enters into, both with a phallic sense of textual mastery and a negatively capable sense of identification) the urn. Yet, the avant-gardism of the Odes, their own unending mutability in productive directions/perspectives if viewed continuously, dictates the lesson that levels of irony built into this encounter complicate its straightforward verticality around passionate virginity, and the enchantment virginal states have of verticality in and of themselves, as virginal consciousness graduates towards consummation, once this sense of graduation is frozen into place, made immortal; the negatively capable subject who stands behind the Ode creates a sense of mutability around an audience trying to see into a fixed set of concerns given ambiguous expression, and become negatively capable ourselves. Does he relish virginity-images specifically from a virgin sensibility of his own, or is his fixed concern attempting to balance an injured sense of experience, of consummations (“ravishings”) gone awry, as we create a fruitful (“never can those trees be bare”) chain by entering his consciousness while the Urn enters his own consciousness?
Lyricism’s dance with raw subjectivity means that here, the New Critical commonplace against the desirability of gauging authorial intentionality must move to the back, remain in abeyance. Too much about lyricism depends on a sense of identification between reader, poet, and the text which dares to “play middle.” In the case of my own textual practice, the fixed set of concerns I project onto my texts has more to do with ontology, less to do with the rigors of melopoeia— my crescendos, thus, can never reach the heights of Keats’ Odal Cycle. Yet, the riveting nature of prosody, when balanced correctly with intellection (and Keats’ fixed set of concerns, projected onto his text, certainly involves the interstitial complications around prosody and intellection), is that it is a specific kind of hinge towards a sense of abandon (into verticality) and mutability (into verticality), and one that, with the twenty-first century and its conventions beginning to consummate themselves in 2014, may or may not be in danger of becoming lost in the ontological, and in hybrid forms. The horizontal, “planed” reach of prose, past the momentary or lyrical, and even forms of poetry for which prosody is not an overriding concern (Apparition Poems and Cheltenham are still involved in this concern, but not as an imperious imperative, the way Keats would have cogitated it) may mean that this form/manner of building textual impetus/direction will exist only as a kind of memory for us, but one fond enough, edgy enough, and wistful enough in its essential Otherness that its presence for us must remain stalwart.